The 1903 purge of Portuguese jurors
We've seen the number of Hong Kong jurors rise steadily, but then in 1903 there's this sudden drop:
And as we typed in the names, it was obvious that the biggest cuts hit the Portuguese jurors. eg on the 1902 list are 20 jurors surnamed 'Silva'. In 1903? Just 3.
Overall the number of Portuguese jurors fell from 182 to 38.
Why the Portuguese?
Did the Portuguese families emigrate from Hong Kong?
We don't have yearly figures, but the cenuses from that time suggest not.
There was a census taken in 1901 and again in 1906. During that time the Portuguese population increased by 18% from 1,956 to 2,310. Not as big as the 30% increase in the whole 'European & American' category, but definitely not the type of drop that would explain the cut in numbers of Portuguese jurors.
Did the conditions for who could become a Juror change?
That's my guess, that something changed which excluded a large part of the resident Portuguese from serving as Jurors. But I don't have any evidence. And it's not as though all the Portuguese were removed from the list.
Has anyone heard of any explanation for the change?
PS We're typing up these jurors lists and putting them online as a resource for anyone interested in Hongkong history - especially people researching their family history. If you can spare 30 minutes to help us and type up a page, I'll be very grateful. Please click here for details.